Monday, October 18, 2010

Luke's 6th Birthday Party

It was supposed to be a busy but very straight forward weekend. I was supposed to be off work Friday to prep the house for company (most of those coming had not been to the new house yet). Mom would drive up Friday as soon as her morning meeting finished, arriving mid to late afternoon. We would finalized the cake design, then do dinner and pick up Dad at the MARTA station after his flight came in (he couldn't leave until after school). Mike and Jennifer (DH's brother and his wife) and the girls would also arrive late Friday evening and spend Friday and Saturday at our house. Mom and Dad would stay at a nearby hotel Friday and Saturday, and Mom would come and help cook breakfast for everyone Sunday morning before all of our guests headed back home. Busy, but not complicated, right?

The first kink in the plan, though we didn't know it at the time, was when Luke woke us up at 2AM Friday morning complaining that his neck hurt. I finally figured out that he meant his throat hurt! He had a bit of a stuffy nose, and the air has been really dry lately, so I chalked it up to breathing through his mouth all night. We turned on the humidifier and decided to check him in the morning before school. He seemed fine, he said his throat was fine, so off to school he went. I had realized earlier in the week that I would only be able to take a half day off work at most (two projects started crumbling on Wednesday), but since Mom ran a little late and traffic was horrible on the way up, which delayed her further, it worked out okay. I actually ended up working the whole day, which put me behind on cleaning, but I could do that while she decorated. We thought we were still doing okay, until we picked up Luke from after school care.

He was burning up with fever! Great. Mike and Jennifer were already on their way from North Carolina. In fact, they would be arriving in just a few hours. It was really too late to do anything, but I didn't want to expose the girls, ages 2.5 years and 6 months, to Luke's fever, especially when we had *no* idea at that point what he might have. I talked it over with Mom, and she agreed that they would donate their hotel room to Mike and family, and my parents would stay here at the house. We met the van in the driveway when they pulled up and explained the plan. They were reluctant to take the room (we insisted that they not pay for it), but they also didn't want to expose the girls, which I complete understood. We decided they would stay there Friday night and we would see how Saturday played out.

After all that and the other craziness going on, we didn't even start decorating the cake until after we had the hotel thing straightened out. The design wasn't overly intricate, but it still took time. (The figures are plastic toys, BTW, not modeling chocolate or something crazy like that.) Cooking and cleaning went even slower than I expected, I hadn't been grocery shopping for the rest of the party food, and I hadn't wrapped a single present. Mom went to bed around 2 AM after finishing the cake, and I thought I would follow shortly thereafter, as soon as I finished wrapping. Instead, I caught a second wind and Dad woke up (he'd been sleeping in the chair for a few hours by then), so we started talking, and I didn't lay down until 5 AM. My own fault, and I don't get to talk with my father like that very often, so it was worth it, but needless to say, I was NOT well rested when 6 AM came and it was time to go the grocery store.

We got the groceries done and the spaghetti sauce for dinner cooking on the stove. Luke seemed better, so we hoped it was just some sort of 24-hour thing. However, he was flatly exhausted and still having trouble breathing through his nose, so we skipped his soccer game. We would have canceled the birthday party if everyone coming had been just local friends that we see often, but that wasn't the case. Half the guests were coming from out of state. Only one person was traveling less than 4 hours to be there, and that one person is 77 and driving an hour to be there. Unless he was just deathly ill, we did need to proceed with the party, and skipping the game was the best way to ensure the fewest meltdowns in front of company.

Mike and Jennifer decided Saturday morning that it was safe enough to attend, so they came over in time for lunch. We just ordered pizza and continued getting ready for the rest of our guests to start arriving a little before 2PM. Except that they started showing up around 12:30! We were still trying to fit in showers and such, and I just gave up cooking anything more at that point to get out there with our guests. As I said, the party itself went really well, and the cake turned out even better than I imagined (my design, Mom's execution). Everyone loved the house and seemed to have a great time.

Around 4PM, I could not keep my eyes open and had to go lay down. DH woke me at 5 to say that some of our guests were leaving. Everyone remaining (my parents, DH's mom, Mike and Jennifer) tucked into dinner around 6:30, and it was time to put Luke to bed around 8. Mike and Jennifer also started trying to get their girls down for bed around that time, but older niece N was coughing, and younger niece M had had a good nap, so she wasn't sleepy. Both girls were just getting over colds, and they hadn't been exposed to Luke long enough to have caught whatever he had. Maybe they were relapsing? We stayed up with them as they tried off and on to get the girls to sleep, but we all decided it was best to turn in around 11 PM and see if they would sleep better with their parents in the room.

I remember someone knocking on our bedroom door in the middle of the night. I let DH get it, and I promptly fell back asleep. I knew if he needed me, he would come get me. Next thing I knew, DH was waking me at 8:30 to say that my parents had arrived to start cooking breakfast. "Oh, and Mike and Jennifer left last night. That's why they were knocking on the door." What?! Apparently the girls were just getting sicker and sicker, more coughing and running fevers, and since no one was sleeping anyway, they went ahead and packed up and went home around 2 AM. I felt awful about it, but I also know that we would have done the same thing in their position. Probably a good thing, though, since Luke was still running a low grade fever Sunday morning. My parents left not long after our (late) breakfast, and we all settled in to try and recover from the long and crazy weekend.

Turns out, it was probably best that Mike and Jennifer went home. A Monday morning doctor visit revealed that both girls had ear infections in *both* ears. Just like it happens with Luke, they had a cold or something that caused nasal congestion. They seemed to be getting over it, which is why they went on and came to the party, but the bacteria had already started growing in the ears, causing them to feel awful and spike a fever just a couple of days later, the night of the party. No wonder they were both crying and miserable! And as selfish as it is, it also makes me feel better knowing it wasn't a result of being around Luke. Ah, the joys of young kids! At least they all seemed to have fun while they were here.

Thanks to everyone who came to the party! I know the weekend was a little nutty, but it really was so great to see everyone.

Currently feeling: in need of a long *quiet* weekend


  1. For an engineer, you really aren't very orgnaized. And it's so great that you have your parents to do so much for you. They are wonderful and you are very lucky to have to do so much for you.

  2. Hmm, young children have no respect for their parents' professions - all that matters to them is the profession of Parenting! I'd say Erin makes a pretty good job of that, putting her child's needs before anything else on her list of Jobs To Be you have any young children, Anonymous? Just asking.

    BTW, ask any grandparent if they mind helping out with their grandchildren.......If you read Erin's blog regularly you'll know she has a great relationship with ALL her family.


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